Sunday, October 18, 2009

Parliament, don't pass Bill C-391!

The interesting thing about staring down a gun barrel is how small the hole is where the bullet comes out, yet what a big difference it would make in your social schedule.

P.J. O’Rourke, Holidays from Hell, 1989

Somewhere around 80 per cent of Canada's nine million guns are owned by men, so perhaps by definition, gun control can be seen as a "woman's issue." And repeated polling shows a substantial majority of women support the gun registry, perhaps because we know that guns are often used to harm or intimidate women in the throes of domestic violence. Women around the world are at greatest risk of harm from their intimate partners—“the usual suspects” in such cases. Fully 85 per cent of Canadian women who are murdered are killed by their spouse or partner, and most of those shot dead are killed with legally owned firearms.

Despite pro-gun lobby bluster, this gun violence is not just an urban phenomenon — the rate of women killed with guns is higher in rural areas because rural people own more guns. And murder is just the tip of the domestic violence iceberg—for every woman killed, many more are injured or threatened. And these “domestic violence” incidents appear in the papers almost daily. Several recent examples:

Smith AB, July 30th: Ian Jeffrey Paget kills estranged wife Joan Hanson, her daughter and granddaughter, and then turns the rifle on himself at her rural home in northern Alberta.

Kitchener ON, August 11th: Nadia Gehl is shot in early February at a bus stop close to her home. Waterloo police finally apprehend three suspects: her husband and two of his friends.

Orangeville ON, September 13th: Police investigate a murder-suicide that left a mother of two and her estranged husband dead. Witnesses say 39-year-old Heidi Ferguson, shot in the chest, sought help at a neighbour's. As she lay dying, Ferguson reportedly cried, "I've been shot by my husband ... please help me." An avid hunter and gun collector, Hugh Ferguson turned the gun on himself after a standoff with police.

Winnipeg MB, September 17th: Police are called after a 19-year-old woman is allegedly assaulted and threatened with a firearm. The woman flees the house and calls police from another area residence.

Fort St. John BC, September 30th: A northeastern B.C. man is shot and killed by the RCMP after a five-day standoff that began when the 41-year-old farm resident pursued a van carrying his wife, an unspecified number of children and a friend, and shot out the front tires.

Since the gun registry was created, close to 23,000 firearms licenses have been refused or revoked because of safety concerns. We register our cars and our dogs--not to register our guns would be criminal.

No matter what the gun lobby says, gun control works. Consider the following :

· Controls on rifles and shotguns were strengthened in 1991: that year 1441 Canadians were killed with guns. By 2005, the number of such deaths dropped by almost half, to 818.

· The number of women murdered with guns fell from 85 in 1991 to 32 in 2005. But the number of women murdered by weapons other than firearms declined only slightly during the same period of time. Again, the effectiveness of gun control is inescapable.

My son was at Dawson College on September 13, 2006 when Kimveer Gill went on his murderous rampage. I will never understand why Mr. Gill had such easy access to such enormous firepower--the fact that he managed to kill “only” a single young woman was due to the fortuitous coincidental presence of two brave and well-trained police officers. (I say “only” because, of course, for her parents, family and friends, the murder of 18-year-old Anastasia De Sousa is no small loss.) Kimveer Gill didn't need those guns and he shouldn't have had them. Why should his right to feel "big and bad" have trumped Ms. De Sousa’s, my son's, or anyone else’s safety?

And so I support more gun control, not less. Please don’t let our Parliament send Bill C-391, the bill to dismantle the long-gun registry, to committee, the next step in the legislative process.

Though our Prime Minister may refuse to face it, rifles and shotguns are the firearms used most often to threaten women and children, and the weapons of choice in the murder of police officers. Look, for example, at the 4 Mounties killed in Mayerthorpe, AB. And the only charges levied in that case were against the gun providers, who were traceable only because of the gun registry!

When Mr. Harper talks about law and order one day, and laxer gun control the next, I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Contact your MP on this issue. Don't let Mr. Harper play fast and loose with our children's lives.


Michel_T said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michel said...

OK, I might be missing something here... but the firearm registry hasn't stop any of these crimes...

So why exactly are we suppose to 'want' to keep it?

Shouldn't we invest the money on programs that could have a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable individuals?

Anonymous said...

Dump the gun registry. Punish all criminals. Deny bail to repeat offenders...........which reminds me of a story I read yesterday that can be read in full here:
here is a little blip from the story:
" A North Preston man charged with attempted murder after a shooting in the community last week is free on bail.
Besides attempted murder, he faces five weapons-related charges involving a handgun allegedly used in the shooting and two counts of breaching a court order."

And people want to harass honest law abiding gun owners.....

jeff said...

The advocates for the gun registry have been unable to demonstrate one single instance where the registry prevented or solved a gun murder. This has been a standing challenge for 10 years now. Maybe because the data in the gun registry is not even admissible in court it is so flawed.

Yet the uneducated cling to the registry in the faint hope that Putting a piece of paper beside a gun will make us all safe.

What did the registry do to stop the tragedies named in this very article? The answer is nothing.

Lindsy W. said...

As woman and a shooter, I have to ask you Ms. Akerman, what planet do you live on?

I don't want to be rude to you because rudeness is the weapon of weak minded but, please, inform yourself on the subject before you start...publishing articles, even if only on a low traffic blog.

Almost everything you claim is wrong and stretched. If you are unaware of that, please, do better research. If you are aware and are pushing those ideas anyways...that's just sad.

Lindsy Wright

Anonymous said...

Lies and half truths still.

If the Liberals had put all the money wasted on the gun registry towards medical equipment, doctors and more police we would be living in a much better country now.

You seem to have a fear and hatred towards firearms all out of proportion to their risk - why?

Darrell said...

If your son had a firearm and was legally aloud to carry it, maybe he could have saved Anastasia from needless death at the hands of a madman. But as it is, because of people like you we have a long hard struggle to get to that point.

There is real irony in your crusade.

Give us a chance, collectively we are not Kimveer Gill, we are here to stop those like him.